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Prayer for a Blessing

Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth,
The gift of saving grace;
And let the seed of sacred truth
Fall in a fruitful place.

Grace is a plant, where’er it grows,
Of pure and heavenly root;
But fairest in the youngest shows,
And yields the sweetest fruit.

Ye careless ones, O hear betimes
The voice of sovereign love!
Your youth is stain’d with many crimes,
But mercy reigns above.

True, you are young, but there’s a stone
Within the youngest breast;
Or half the crimes which you have done
Would rob you of your rest.

For you the public prayer is made:
Oh! join the public prayer!
For you the secret tear is shed:
Oh shed yourselves a tear!

We pray that you may early prove
The Spirit’s power to teach;
You cannot be too young to love
That Jesus whom we preach.

Olney Hymns, William Cowper, from Cowper’s Poems, Sheldon & Company, New York